Prince Harry hosts ‘Beyond Burnout’ session at BetterUp summit in San Francisco as life-coaching firm’s Chief Impact Officer – and poses with The Office star Mindy Kaling who appeared on Meghan’s axed Archetypes podcast

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Harry speaks at ‘Beyond Burnout: Transforming C-Level Stress Into Strength’
  • Session formed part of BetterUp’s ‘Uplift Summit’ in San Francisco yesterday

Prince Harry met The Office star Mindy Kaling at a ‘Beyond Burnout’ session during a summit held by life coaching firm BetterUp in his role as its ‘chief impact officer’.

The Duke of Sussex spoke on a panel in San Francisco, where the company is based, about managing ‘the pressures of today’s world and modern corporate life’.

Harry was joined by Dr Adam Grant, BetterUp’s chairman of the ‘Center for Purpose and Performance’, and Kelly Jones, ‘chief people officer’ at technology firm Cisco.

A photograph posted on Harry’s website Sussex.com also showed the Duke with US actress Kaling, who has also appeared on his wife Meghan Markle’s Spotify podcast Archetypes in September 2022 which was later axed after one series.

The session was called ‘Beyond Burnout: Transforming C-Level Stress Into Strength’, with the American phrase ‘C-level’ referring to the most important ‘chief’ roles at a company such as chief executive, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

Prince Harry posed with The Office actress Mindy Kaling during his appearance at the ‘Beyond Burnout: Transforming C-Level Stress Into Strength’ session in San Francisco yesterday

They looked at ‘how C-level leaders manage the unique pressure of their roles, build resilience, and foster a culture that supports sustainable performance’.

Referring to his discussion with Dr Grant and Ms Jones, a post on Harry’s website Sussex.com said: ‘The trio dove into the psychological toll of leading through uncertainty, sharing personal anecdotes, evidence-based practices, and forward-thinking policies aimed at helping leaders thrive amidst the pressures of today’s world and modern corporate life.’

The event – called the ‘Uplift Summit’ – ‘centred on courageous leadership’ and provided a ‘unique forum for C-suite leaders, business executives, and HR professionals and advocates’.

Kaling also spoke at the summit during a discussion on who to lead with ‘levity and creativity’, and said she had been raising her children Katherine, six, and Spencer, three, under the principle of ‘gentle parenting’ – but was now reconsidering this.

According to Hello! magazine, she was asked a series of questions by Dr Grant, one of which was: ‘What are you rethinking lately?’

In response, Kaling said: ‘Gentle parenting, I am rethinking. It’s this thing lots of LA and NY and certain progressive cities do, and sometimes you just have to scream at your kids… so I am rethinking it!’

Prince Harry speaks with Kelly Jones, Cisco 'chief people officer', and Dr Adam Grant, BetterUp's chairman of the 'Center for Purpose and Performance', in San Francisco yesterday

Prince Harry speaks with Kelly Jones, Cisco ‘chief people officer’, and Dr Adam Grant, BetterUp’s chairman of the ‘Center for Purpose and Performance’, in San Francisco yesterday

Gentle parenting is a method popularised by millennials, particularly in the US, that involves a mild-mannered style that means never raising your voice and calmly acknowledging a child’s feelings.

Harry – whose presence at yesterday’s session was revealed on Sussex.com – took up his role at US professional coaching and mental health firm BetterUp in March 2021.

He has spoken at length about his own struggles with mental health, and told a previous BetterUp discussion two years ago that he has ‘experienced burnout’ and previously felt he was ‘getting to the very end of everything that I had’.

The Duke said in February 2022 that he was ‘literally getting to the very end of everything that I had, any fuel or any steam in the engine just like I was burning the candle at both ends’.

BetterUp was founded in 2013 and provides mobile-based professional coaching, counselling and mentorship.

Its website says it has a network of more than 3,000 coaches offering coaching in 60 languages across 70 countries.

Harry’s boss Alexi Robichaux – who was also at yesterday’s event – said at the time of the Duke’s appointment that he hired him because he had been ‘one of the fiercest advocates for mental wellness or mental fitness for many years’.

US actress Mindy Kaling has also appeared on Meghan Markle's Spotify podcast Archetypes

US actress Mindy Kaling has also appeared on Meghan Markle’s Spotify podcast Archetypes

But he added that he was also grateful for the amount of publicity it generated, saying: ‘It’s awesome. I mean, look, we’ll take the press, it certainly helps,’ he said, ‘(but) that’s not the driving motivation here.’

Harry took on the job about two weeks after the Sussexes’ bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The role was one of Harry’s moves into business after he and Meghan stepped back as senior working royals in March 2020 in ‘Megxit’.

The couple, who temporarily relocated to Canada, are now based in Montecito in California with their son Archie and daughter Lilibet.

In August last year it was reported that BetterUp staff had questioned Harry’s at the company, with some claiming he had become a ‘distraction’.

Staff allegedly turned on the Duke – who reportedly earns a seven-figure salary at the firm– after more than 100 San Francisco-based BetterUp employees were laid off earlier that year.

According to The Daily Beast, the Duke became a ‘target’ for angry BetterUp staff. A former employee said he initially thought Harry’s arrival was ‘cool’.

But they added that staff soon began to find him a distraction with many fearing his ongoing dramas might impact on the company’s reputation.

Mindy Kaling is most well-known for playing Kelly Kapoor in the US version of The Office

Mindy Kaling is most well-known for playing Kelly Kapoor in the US version of The Office

The employee said: ‘Every article mentions his role at BetterUp then goes on to roast [him and Meghan Markle]… The juice isn’t worth the squeeze.’

Another said the company treat staff poorly while pushing ‘woke’ credentials.

‘We’re all there because of the same bull**** story they keep telling us: ‘We’re mission driven, and the mission is going to change the world’,’ said the employee.

Harry’s publicly known work at BetterUp appears to mostly comprise of speaking engagements.

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